This writer will be completely upfront before starting this article: Matteo Darmian must be the most boring Manchester United player to write about. It’s not about him being good or bad, but him not having a single characteristic that stands out: doesn’t have a single foot like Valencia, doesn’t have Paul Pogba’s constant hair changes and the “HE’S NOT WORTH SUCH SUMS” arguments, doesn’t have Fellaini’s beautiful head of hair and Messi-like ball-control with his chest or Wayne Rooney’s outstanding leadership through example. So it’s hard to make jokes about the Italian and the article would be mostly about his footballing skills and me completing the word count, like I just did, see?
Darmian, as we all know, started off pretty well with Louis Van Gaal during his first month at the club but he went downhill after it, losing the right-back spot (fairly) to Antonio Valencia after Mourinho’s arrival. Despite that, several injuries and the fact that Luke Shaw never looked like making the position his own, the former Torino player managed to gain the left-back spot and gave some encouraging performances in the last couple of months in the defensive aspect of the role, albeit being practically non-existent on the attacking front.
José Mourinho is well known for being a safety-first kind of manager, but considering his decision of giving Luke Shaw, a more attacking-minded full-back, another chance to prove himself in the upcoming season, it could be the sign of someone looking for a bit more flair and input on the left side of his defense. Having said that, as much as the vast majority of United fans would like to see Shaw becoming the club’s left-back for the next decade, it’s a bit of a risky decision and it’s important to have a backup plan. Matteo Darmian is definitely one underwhelming backup plan in terms of excitement, but he’s an effective one at that and appeals to José.
Rumors about the Italian leaving or not have been somewhat conflicting in the past couple of weeks, but we can safely say that Darmian has gained the benefit of the doubt for what he has done in the last months. He can also play in all the positions in defense (let’s not forget one glorious cameo with Daley Blind as the centre-backs, putting Ferdinand and Vidic to shame there), which would be quite handy during the club’s annual injury crisis.
As you can see, this writer in particular is clearly in the #KeepDarmianVivaMatteo front. He’s no world beater, but he’s reliable, can do a job as a backup and his polyvalence is something you can always count on during a season filled with matches, which tends to be the case with United. But since this is a democracy (I think), we’ll leave it to you:
What should United do with Matteo Darmian?